The people and story behind Hostel Hub
11 years ago, Malcolm Handoll was sitting in the kitchen of a hostel on Skye, nervously waiting for the right moment. Rachel DuBois was 2 1/2 weeks into her holiday in Scotland, sitting in the window in the warm sunshine of a glorious summer, wondering why people complain about British weather.
Out popped the words ‘Will you marry me?’
Thus began our joint love of hostels.
Whilst Malcolm’s enthusiasm for hostels started practically from birth with family trips to hostels, and continued as a hostel manager and later hostel inspector, Rachel was late to the game. She thought hostels were places only the homeless slept.
Luckily for her and many others, hostels have moved on from their back-to-basics days. The best hostels offer private rooms alongside dorm rooms, beautiful furnishings, welcoming staff and a place to cook your own food whilst meeting friendly people.
And let’s not forget the last ingredient in a remarkable hostel: its local community. The people who work at the hostel and the people who live in the neighbourhood make or break a visitor’s experience.
Think of how different your holiday is when people smile at you, give you directions, offer a helping hand. Doesn’t it make that place seem special, charmed?
That’s why we work with communities to create hostels. Remarkable ones.
We’re joined by an exceptional team of people including our finance director, Martin, a marketing firm for social enterprises, Bold Marketing, and an interior design company that specialises in having communities actually help create the space, Claire Potter Design.
Together, we work with communities to create places that change your life for a few days — sometimes even for a lifetime.
Here’s a bit more about our background:
Malcolm transformed a rural Welsh hostel slated for closure into one with the highest occupancy figures outside of London. It changed from a source of local resentment into one of local pride. He has over 25 years experience in the tourism industry in Wales, England and Scotland as a hotel and youth hostel manager, chef and tour guide.
As the first inspector of hostels for Scottish Independent Hostels, Malcolm developed all of the essential standards for hostels and personally visited and audited over 100 hostel-style accommodations in Scotland. Prior to this, Malcolm was a hotel manager, then chef and head of housekeeping at Glenmore Lodge, the National Outdoor Centre.
With our partner organisation Five Senses, Malcolm leads walking tours throughout the UK, giving him insider knowledge of tourists’ expectations which continue to inform our work with clients. He is a passionate advocate of the potential for well-run hostels to transform communities.
Rachel DuBois manages business strategy and fundraising. She co-founded Touchwood Project, a social enterprise based on Orkney, conducting successful fundraising and business development for the organisation for 5 years.
She has 15 yearsâ€™ experience in web design, branding, and marketing. As the owner of Gillywood Design, she ran a web and print design agency for social enterprises.
As Web Producer for Perth & Kinross Council, she implemented a community web portal for the entire region to increase tourism and business and resident relocation to the area. She also produced the Perthshire G8 website which showcased the region to over 100,000 visitors.
A favourite day is one spent by the fire writing a business plan and making it look pretty.
Martin has over 20 years of financial exposure covering manufacturing, construction, retail, service and not for profit sectors but with a broad strong commercial awareness. His career has covered companies such i3 Research, Equifax, Quintiles, Pims Group, The Royal Mint & the Inland Revenue.
During his career he has written many financial documents; many with a global audience. He is also an active committee member of the Porthcawl Museum & Historical Society where he heads up both financial and archaeological functions.
Nothing makes him happier than a sheet filled with numbers.